Results tagged ‘ Tom Ricketts ’
Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts unveiled a $500 million plan for the renovation of Wrigley Field, which includes a video scoreboard in left field as well as significant improvements to the Wrigleyville community. The Cubs and the city of Chicago reached agreement on the proposal, which has been reviewed in community meetings over the past few weeks, and will continue to be discussed. The Cubs must formally submit plan development designs to the city for more public hearings before it is finalized, and that could be completed within the next few weeks.
“If this plan is approved, we will win the World Series for our fans and our city,” Ricketts said.
Ricketts called Monday a “milestone” for the Cubs. The team first revealed its five-year renovation plan at the Cubs Convention in January. No public dollars will be needed to save the 99-year-old ballpark. The Ricketts will pay $300 million to renove Wrigley over five offseasons, and spend another $200 million on a hotel/retail complex at Clark and Addison Streets where the McDonald’s restaurant now exists.
“I always believed, and I still believe, it’s in everyone’s best interest to do what’s right for Wrigley Field, not only economically,” Ricketts said during a news conference on the ballpark’s concourse. “It’s a special place and has a special role in baseball history.”
Besides being home to the Cubs, Wrigley Field also is the third largest tourist attraction in Illinois and provides a huge economic boost to the city of Chicago.
One of the top priorities is to renovate the home clubhouse. Players at other ballparks have access to batting cages during games; the Cubs’ batting cages are under the bleachers and players instead use a batting tee in the clubhouse and hit into a net.
“We don’t want to be telling our players this is a first class organization and give them second-rate facilities,” Ricketts said. “It’s not just how it looks and how it feels but how it works. We’d like to get batting cages built, better training facilities built. The ability to do that will be subject to how quickly the process moves.”
The additional revenue generated from a new video scoreboard, advertising, etc., will be channeled into the baseball operations budget.
“It’s my responsibility to generate as much revenue as I can to give to the guys in the baseball organization so they can put that back on the field to make us more competitive,” Ricketts said. “This is a big step in that direction.”
– Carrie Muskat
The Cubs and the city of Chicago have reached an agreement on a $500 million renovation plan for Wrigley Field, which includes the addition of a video scoreboard in left field, more night games and improvements to the Wrigleyville community. Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts was to meet with the media at 11 a.m. CT Monday to discuss the proposal.
“We are excited about moving forward with the approval process,” Ricketts said in a statement. “Under the leadership of Mayor [Rahm] Emanuel and [Ald. Tom Tunney, 44th Ward], we believe the Cubs proposal will help us invest in Wrigley Field and the Lakeview community. We are anxious to work with our community as we seek the approvals required to move the project forward.”
No public dollars will be needed for the Wrigley Field renovation project. If approved, the Cubs say the proposal would create 2,100 new jobs and generate hundreds of millions in new tax revenue for the city, state and county. The jobs include 800 construction jobs and 1,300 permanent jobs, and this would be among the biggest investments currently underway in the city of Chicago.
All designs and construction are subject to a planned development process. The Cubs say community participation and input to this point has been helpful on night games, ballpark design, plaza and hotel. There will be public hearings on the proposal.
* According to the Cubs, the rooftop views will be largely preserved. The Cubs have agreed to install only two signs in the outfield -– a video scoreboard in left field and a sign in right field. This is far less than the team’s original desire for seven signs to help offset the cost of ballpark restoration. Signs will be placed in a manner to limit impact on rooftops.
* If approved, the Cubs would play 40 night baseball games, up from the current 30. If Major League Baseball or its national television contract requires the Cubs to play more than five home night games in any season, such games will be authorized by special ordinance and will not count against the 40-game limit or require additional cost to Cubs. This does not include playoffs, the All-Star Game, events outside the baseball season, events when fewer than 15,000 are expected to attend, games rescheduled because of weather or other cause, or other events excluded under the current ordinance, which will be allowed as well. No Saturday or Sunday night games will be played unless MLB schedules them for national TV purposes.
There is a special ordinance for concerts (maximum of four), with no additional cost to the Cubs. These do not count as a night game, and are permitted on weekends. Anything beyond four concerts will count as a night game.
The Cubs also will be able to play six Friday games, starting at 3:05 p.m. CT. Currently, they are not able to play any at that time, which makes it difficult for the team coming back from road trips.
Under the plan, the Cubs will have the flexibility to schedule smaller events in-season and to schedule off-season events at Wrigley Field without sacrificing a night game or incurring additional cost.
* The Cubs want to install a 6,000 square foot videoboard in left field, and the team will choose the location with the goal to have minimal impact on the rooftops, which surround the ballpark, and with whom the Cubs have an agreement. The videoboard may be further cantilevered over the public street to help further minimize impact on rooftops.
There also will be one sign in right field of 1,000 square feet in the style of the existing Toyota sign now in left. The Cubs will choose the location with the goal is to again have minimal impact on the rooftops.
* The city of Chicago has agreed to vacate the sidewalk and one street lane on Waveland Avenue (from Sheffield to Clark), at no cost to the Cubs, which will be incorporated into the ballpark, subject to a requirement to maintain eight feet of sidewalk. This will allow the left field video board to be moved further north, thus minimizing the sightline impact on rooftops. It also increases the open space on the plaza by moving the office building further North.
The city also will vacate the sidewalk on Sheffield Avenue (from Addison to Waveland), at no cost to the Cubs, which will be incorporated into the ballpark, subject to a requirement to maintain eight feet of sidewalk.
* The Cubs will add a new 14,000 square foot, two-story Captain Morgan Club on Addison Street with a merchandise store and space for visitors’ clubhouse, to replace the existing street-level restaurant.
* New additions to the ballpark in left field and right field corners will allow more flexible space for fans, including connection points to bleachers and grandstands at the height of current bleachers. The right field addition will also include a ground floor restaurant opening (an expanded version of the Sheffield Grill) onto Sheffield Avenue.
The Cubs also will be able to use Sheffield Avenue for weekend home games between Memorial Day and Labor Day beginning two hours before the game and ending at the end of the second inning.
– Carrie Muskat
Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts wrote a letter to Cubs season ticket holders. Here’s his message:
Dear Season Ticket Holder,
With the 2012 season having drawn to a close, it’s time for all of us at the Chicago Cubs to thank you for your support and provide an update on the progress we’ve made toward building a championship-caliber organization. You are a vital stakeholder to this franchise and an important partner in our transformation.
Despite this year’s results in the standings, we are confident the Chicago Cubs are heading in the right direction. Our players, coaches, management and front office have approached their jobs with professionalism, effort and unity, which has created a winning atmosphere inside the organization. It’s our responsibility to turn that effort into additional wins on the field. Our number one goal is to reward loyal generations of Cubs fans with a World Series and we’re reinvesting every dollar spent by our fans into the franchise to achieve that goal.
To achieve our goal, it was clear the team needed a long-term strategy. Over the past year, we recruited new baseball leadership to create and execute a plan for building a consistently competitive ballclub. We now have a long-term strategy in place and a baseball organization focused on delivering a championship to Wrigley Field. That team is communicating openly and honestly about implementing a proven model for sustained success.
As part of that strategy, we are developing a core of young players at the major league level. This season provided an opportunity for homegrown and acquired players to gain valuable experience and establish themselves as potential long-term contributors to the club.
Our minor league system improved in 2012, as the Cubs acquired, drafted or signed a significant wave of new talent into the organization. We welcomed a strong 2012 first-year player draft class into the system, building on a franchise-record investment in draft signings in 2011. Many of these players made immediate positive contributions. In fact, five Cubs prospects were included in MLB’s recently released Top 100 Prospects list; a total topped by only three other teams in the league. A number of our newly acquired players excelled in both the minor and major leagues and look to contribute further in 2013 and beyond.
We’ve welcomed new talent in the front office as well. Perhaps no operation bears more responsibility for advancing our organizational plan than scouting and player development. After a season of evaluation, our scouting and development teams have been reorganized to procure and develop the best amateur, professional and international talent available. Our scouts and coaches have been equipped with state-of-the-art analysis tools and equipment to enhance the club’s analytical capabilities.
In addition to personnel investments, we’ve made significant upgrades to our facilities. We are currently building a new baseball academy to serve our Latin American players in the Dominican Republic. The facility, open year-round, will span 50 acres with baseball fields, training facilities, player housing and an education center, making it the largest academy in the country. Additionally, we broke ground this season on a new Spring Training facility in Mesa, Ariz., that will be one of the premier training facilities in baseball, as well as a more enjoyable venue for watching a Spring Training game. We continue to make improvements to Wrigley Field’s facilities for our players and fans, with larger scale investments coming down the road. All of these improvements will enhance your fan experience and bolster the club’s ability to attract and develop elite players throughout the world.
Lastly, we continue to invest in the Chicago community to help deserving children and families. The Cubs and Chicago Cubs Charities will support a team-record $4.5 million of donations to worthwhile nonprofits and programs across Chicagoland this year. We’re honored to support the people and organizations that make our city a great place to work, live and play baseball.
In the end, we are fans and our goal is to win. We’re committed to building an organization you can be proud of and we’re committed to building a champion the right way. This franchise has embarked on a path that will present challenges along the way, but the destination is promising.
We deeply and sincerely appreciate your ongoing support.
Tom Ricketts Chairman, Chicago Cubs
In case you missed it, Cubs owners Tom and Laura Ricketts joined Mesa, Ariz., city and community leaders at a groundbreaking ceremony July 11 for the team’s new Spring Training facility. The new stadium will hold 15,000 people, and the facility was expected to be completed by Spring Training 2014. The Cubs are taking over land which had been occupied by the Riverview Golf Course in west Mesa.
– Carrie Muskat
Boston Red Sox owner John Henry met with the media in Fort Myers, Fla., on Saturday. He was asked why the compensation matter between the Red Sox and Cubs wasn’t worked out before Theo Epstein left Boston.
“I think there was a basic misunderstanding between [Cubs chairman] Tom Ricketts and I when we first spoke about it,” Henry said. “I really admire Tom Ricketts as an owner. He’s one of the best owners in baseball. It’s a great organization.
“We probably had a misunderstanding at least as far as expectation,” Henry said. “There was no real agreement. It was just sort of, the best way to explain it is we probably had different expectations based on the first conversation as to what was transpiring.”
The matter was settled this past week when the Cubs sent right-handed pitcher Chris Carpenter and a player to be named later to the Red Sox in exchange for a player to be named. Those players still to be designated will not be on the team’s respective 40-man rosters. The transaction was expected to be completed by April 15.
– Carrie Muskat
Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts addressed the full squad on Friday prior to the first workout at Fitch Park in Mesa, Ariz.
“There’s a new energy, a new vibe, I think they’ll be working a little harder than years past, focusing on fundamentals,” Ricketts said.
And his message to the team?
“We talked about, ‘Let’s make sure we use all 40 days as best we can,’” he said. “Communicate, too. One of the things I talk about is making sure if there’s something we can be doing better, let us know. We want to be the best organization in baseball. If there’s feedback, make sure it gets up to us so we can do what we can.”
He also told the players that they’re working on improving the facilities. One theme in camp has been the creation of the Cubs way, which Ricketts was happy to hear about.
“You do like to hear that ‘Cubs way,’” he said. “What they’re doing is putting everything down on paper and signing off on it.”
The baseball operations department is creating a scouting manual and player development manual, which Theo Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer coordinated. Ricketts likes the idea.
“Not only does it help you be more consistent in the way you treat players and train players,” Ricketts said, “but everyone buys in and you’re accountable and I think that’s a big part of the Cubs way.”
As for recent rumors that the Cubs might have to play their home games in 2013 at U.S. Cellular Field to accomodate renovations at Wrigley Field, Ricketts tried to squelch the talk.
“There’s no plans for us to play anywhere else but Wrigley Field,” Ricketts said.
He also said there is no date set for groundbreaking for the Cubs’ new Spring Training facility in Mesa. The design is being finalized and the plan is still to be ready for 2014.
Season ticket renewals for 2012 were “off the charts,” Ricketts said.
“We know the one thing that sells tickets is winning and that’s what we focus on,” he said.
The lineup may not be the most intimidating but Ricketts said fans are enthused about the 2012 Cubs.
“People are very excited,” he said. “Everyone sees this as a great positive for the organization and everyone is looking forward to letting Theo do his job and letting Dale [Sveum] do his job and moving us forward.”
– Carrie Muskat
In September, Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts said he had a hard time imagining Carlos Zambrano returning to the Cubs after the pitcher’s early exit in August. But Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein is giving Zambrano another chance to earn his way back. Ricketts said Tuesday he will defer to Epstein.
“What Theo said publicly is he’s willing to give Carlos a chance to earn his way back on the team,” Ricketts said. “It’s [Epstein's]decision and I support it 100 percent.”
* Baseball’s new collective bargaining agreement will cap the amount of dollars a team can commit to their Draft picks. That means a team’s front office will have to be creative.
“It’ll be a strategic change for some teams who were planning to spend more than what their caps would be,” Ricketts said.
The Cubs spent $12 million on players in last June’s First-Year Player Draft. In the two previous Drafts in 2009 and 2010, they spent a total of $8.7 million combined. Did Ricketts see the changes coming?
“People knew this was an issue that would be discussed in the CBA,” he said Tuesday. “I was personally surprised at how far it went. I thought there might be some changes, but I wasn’t sure how far it would go. It’s a big shift, a bigger shift than I expected. We knew it was a possibility that something like this would come in.”
Will it change how the Cubs select players? Ricketts deferred to Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer on how their resources are allocated.
* Ricketts is talking to city officials on what they can do to get rennovations done at Wrigley Field. It’s unlikely they’ll have everything done by 2014, the ballpark’s 100th anniversary.
“There’s nothing concrete at this point — no pun intended,” Ricketts said.
* Ricketts met new manager Dale Sveum in Milwaukee during the GM Meetings and had a couple beers with him before he was hired.
“There was no litmus test kind of question that I wanted to hear,” Ricketts said. “I would be supportive of the decision of the baseball guys. I thought it would be good to sit down and talk to him and get to know him and I was very impressed.”
* The Cubs once again passed over Ryne Sandberg for the manager’s job, but Ricketts said the Hall of Fame second baseman will “always be a part of the Cubs family.”
* On Monday, the Cubs and family of late broadcaster and third baseman Ron Santo will find out if he’s going into the Hall of Fame.
“Obviously, Ron belongs in the Hall of Fame,” Ricketts said. “We’re doing what we can to get that message out to people who have the power to make that decision and we’re hopeful they’ll see it that way this weekend.”
* The Cubs hope for groundbreaking early next year on the new Spring Training facility in Mesa, Ariz.
* There is talk of the Cubs rebuilding. Usually that means going with youth. Can they win next year?
“Of course, we can win in 2012,” Ricketts said. “Like I said [at the end of the season], you get 25 guys playing hard, working together, and stay healthy, baseball tells you anything can happen when you get that. We’ll see how the offseason goes. I imagine we’ll be right in it next year.”
It seemed as if the honeymoon ended quickly for the Ricketts family, who took over the Cubs in October 2009. The team has finished in fifth place in back to back seasons.
“I really don’t think of it in terms of ‘Q ratings’ or honeymoons,” Ricketts said. “In the end, if we win, people will think we were good owners, and if we lose, we’re bad owners. As long as you focus on doing what you can to win, everything will fall into place.”
– Carrie Muskat
“Tom has spoken about how happy he is and impressed he is with our scouting departments and player development,” Bush said Sunday. “He’s happy with [player development director Oneri Fleita's] leadership and [scouting director] Tim Wilken, and I expressed to them that [Ricketts] has those feelings about the job they’re doing and that we could see a path where a lot of things in place would stay in place.”
What would Bush tell the next Cubs GM?
“I’d tell him I believe we’ve done a great job recently of acquiring talent,” Bush said, “and that Mr. Ricketts has made a commitment both domestically and internationally to pursue the top talent available, and that our player development people are doing a great job of moving those players along at the right pace to get them here so they’ll be here for a long time.”
* If there are any waiver wire trades to be made, Bush will handle that. One thing he made clear to Ricketts was that things happen quickly in baseball. Some teams in the race may need help because of injuries or performance.
“I don’t anticipate anything,” Bush said. “I think it’s the nature of the business that opportunities come up at different times and we have to be prepared.”
Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts made a stop in Peoria on Wednesday to see the Class A team and talked to reporters there.
“We want our Minor Leagues to be as productive as possible. We do want to separate ourselves in that we want to be better,” Ricketts said in a news conference at O’Brien Field. “We want to be known as a team that drafts and develops players better than the other teams.”
Ricketts said he visits the Minor League teams because the goal is to build the best organization in baseball, according to a story in the Peoria Journal Star. Ricketts was asked about any possible changes for next season.
“I don’t know just yet,” Ricketts said. “It’s something we’ll decide at the right time.”
So far, the new owners have concentrated on the business end.
“It’s hard to say we’ve had any type of big impact on the baseball side,” Ricketts said, “but that being said, a lot of the stuff we’re doing now should pay off in the long run.”
And that includes a commitment to scouting and player development, which includes building new facilities in Mesa, Ariz., and also the Dominican Republic.
“We’re out talking to our affiliates to make sure we’re doing everything we can with our minor league players and coaches,” Ricketts said. “Ultimately the performance on the field, if it’s going to be consistently winning, has to come from a great organization. We’re doing everything we can to make it the best organization in baseball.”
– Carrie Muskat